Ministerial Education and Formation
The Diocese of South Dakota is firmly committed to the idea that spiritual growth is not only compatible with, but strengthened by, intellectual growth. While intense study within the Christian tradition will not on its own necessarily lead to a lively and active faith, we believe that deeper exploration of Scripture, the Christian tradition and the Church's history, theology, and worship undertaken in a reverential and prayerful manner certainly help contribute to a fuller relationship with God. The Diocese of South Dakota therefore has made it a priority that all local congregations have access to competently trained clergy who can help the members of those congregations deepen both their devotional and intellectual faith lives. Furthermore, the Diocese wants to ensure that all laypeople have access to high-quality Christian education, regardless of whether or not one's local congregation currently has the capacity to offer consistent Christian education programs and leadership training.
One of the most important tools for ensuring that all its people have access to high-quality Christian education that has been nurtured in the Diocese of South Dakota is the Niobrara School for Ministry. The Niobrara School for Ministry (NSM) oversees the curriculum for those being trained for ministry as deacons or priests who are receiving their canonically mandated ministerial training locally through the Diocese of South Dakota. However, the ministry weekends and yearly Summer Seminary that make up part of the local ministerial education curriculum are open to all members of the Episcopal Church in South Dakota. In fact, already ordained clergy and interested laypeople seeking to further their education and gain more practical skills for Christian life and ministry are highly encouraged to come to these events. For more information about Niobrara School for Ministry, its curriculum, and its schedule, click here or contact Dr. Chris Corbin.
Congregational Christian Education
Some congregations and missions in the Diocese offer regular Christian education programs, including bible studies, lecture series, and Sunday or Wednesday school. Please check with whoever oversees your congregation or mission to see what local resources are available. Even if there is currently no formal Christian education in your local congregation, it may be possible to start a study group, do one-on-one study with a priest or other person with ministerial training, or partner with other local congregations that already provide Christian education programming.
Missioner for Leadership Development
The Diocese also has on staff a Missioner for Leadership Development, Mr. Chris Corbin, who helps to coordinate the discernment process and educational opportunities for the Diocese. Anyone, whether clergy or lay, interested in furthering his or her Christian education or who wants help finding resources for such education should email the Missioner for Leadership Development or call him at (605) 881-8153. He may provide the best contact for you for Christian education in your local context, direct you to someone else in the Diocese who may be able to oversee a program of study, recommend certain books or other media appropriate to your needs, or direct you to other educational opportunities, such as classes at local colleges, universities, or seminaries.